How much does it cost to be convicted of DWI in Texas? As usual, the answer here varies but let me take a crack at it anyway…

First we’ll assume this is a first time arrest, no collision, basic DWI that a defendant pleads guilty to in Austin.

The fine for a Class B misdemeanor DWI in Texas is “up to” $2000, but this is negotiable, let’s estimate it at an average of $500.

The DPS surcharge for a DWI conviction however is not negotiable, that’s a minimum of $1000 per year for 3 years, that’s $3000. If you provided a breath or blood sample over .16, twice the legal limit, the DPS surcharge is $2000/yr for 3 years = $6000. We’ll estimate this at the $3000 level.

Increase in insurance for a DWI conviction is going to vary greatly, based on your prior driving record, age, number of claims made against you in the past, etc. A very conservative estimate here though is going to be $3000, but probably higher. (And, again, conservative estimate means a low estimate.)

The ALR suspension of your 24/7 driver’s license is for either 90 days if you provided a specimen over .08, or 180 days if you refused to take a breath test. Occupational driver’s license costs in Travis County run approximately $250 for the filing fee, SR-22 insurance coverage for the period of the suspension will be $100-$150, and the reinstatement fee to DPS, which must be paid within 30 days of the ODL being filed, $125. So that’s approximately $475.

Probation costs $62 per month, and at an average of 18 to 24 months for “just” a first time DWI offense, which is common in Austin, you’re looking at $1116 to $1488. We’ll ballpark it at $1200.

Alcohol counseling is mandatory for DWI probations in Texas (or you lose your license again – never mind being sent back to court for a probation violation to face a more serious possibility of jail), and here in Austin, you’ll pay $55 to be evaluated for alcohol problems. The minimum number of classes assigned by the Travis County Counseling and Education Services (TCCES) is two: $10 for the MADD Victim Impact Panel, and $70 for the 12 hour DWI Education program. Minimum of $135.

So far, the cost of the DWI conviction is over $8000, and we didn’t talk about money spent on bail, towing charges to get your car out of impound, attorney’s fees, or court costs.